Currently around the globe, we are experiencing times where communication is now conceivable without the need to use so much effort. Characteristically, we are now living in times where social networking is actually the key means of communication. Today, you are only required to have access to a computer, a cellular phone or maybe a smartphone and reliable internet connection to be in a position to communicate with somebody from another nation. Additionally, some individuals who have their personal businesses also take advantage of social networking. They use social networking to reach out to new customers and, therefore, sell their products. In fact, a quick analysis of the situation gives the impression that social networking has transformed the entire world for the better.
However, the question that still lingers is, is that all there is to this situation or fact? Are we really benefiting from social networking? Dr. Larry Rosen an expert in the psychology of technology does not agree that it is a win-win situation all around (Rosen, 2011). During the 119th Yearly Convention of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Rosen conducted a demonstration on how social networks might assist and harm children (Rosen, 2011). Dr. Larry Rosen suggested that even though social networking may have transformed the globe for the better, it may also have negative effects on an individual for instance: result in distraction especially among students, altering the way an individual relates to other people, and also result in mental or psychological changes (Rosen, 2011).
It is proof enough that social networking is actually a reliable means of communication. Social networking is fast, easy, and uncomplicated. The difficulty of communicating with persons from other parts of the globe is no more owing to social networking websites (Adaman et.al, 2014). Additionally, social networking has been a great source of information on what is happening in the other parts of the globe, live. As a matter of fact, people are more informed on issues and the occurrences, good or bad, around the world (Adaman et.al, 2014). It is also a fact that social networking has enabled us to meet new people, without having to meet them face to face. One good sample for this is Facebook. Facebook is a free social networking site that offers a platform for the registered users to build their profiles, transfer photos and video, send communications or text messages and stay in touch with family, friends and coworkers (Adaman et.al, 2014).
Through this kind of social networking communication, two or more people have the likelihood of being friends (Adaman et.al, 2014). According to Dr. Rosen, individuals who use social networking sites such as Facebook are capable of developing their feeling of sympathy. As soon as somebody sees an individual’s status update expressing something negative, that somebody will instantly ask what is wrong (Rosen, 2011). Hence, exercising empathy according to Dr. Rosen is the only positive impact of social networking (Rosen, 2011). One of the negative or corrosive influences of social networking is that it results in distraction among students. Students who operate social networking sites, for instance, Facebook, usually register lower grades compared to those who use the site less frequently. Some students have testified that as they tackle their school work, they also keep on checking their Twitter or Facebook accounts. Thus, their time meant for school work decreases. At the end of the day, this leads to average work or no effort at all on their part and also the destruction of future leaders in the community.
Another corrosive effect resulting from the use of social networking is that it alters how individuals relate with others. For instance, individuals who operate social networking sites have the likelihood of becoming self-centered. They also have a tendency to become attention-seeking people. This type of attitude makes other social networking users to become irritated by the individual who desires attention. This results in cyber bullying and possibly leads to mental changes, which is another negative outcome of social networking. Today, it is evident that social networking has clearly taken over the globe, for instance, in March of 2012, the world watched the release of the famous American movie Project X that featured a party organized by three young persons that got totally uncontrollable (Duivestein et.al, 2013). In numerous places around the globe, efforts have been made to replicate similar happenings in real life (Duivestein et.al, 2013). This is another corrosion to the ‘real’ community brought about by social networking websites.
Almost the entire world is experiencing the positive effects of social networking. It might even be concluded that social networking is the only good thing that has ever come about to mankind. However, this will seem true if you only look at the positive characteristics of social networking. But the real challenge lies in searching deeper. If you decide to search behind the appearance offered by cyberspace, then you will gather that not all about social networking is acceptable. In fact, what people should exercise when interacting online, and in real life also, is minding their actions. People should understand that the globe is larger than a laptop computer, or a just a three-inch screen phone. A computer screen will never reveal how somebody felt when they interpreted the commentaries made online. In summary, we should strive to keep in mind that, though we have the freedom of expressing our thoughts and views, we still ought to mind our audiences.
Adaman, F. et.al, (2014), “Engaging with Social Networks: The Bourdieu-Becker Encounter Revisited.” Forum for Social Economics.
Duivestein, S. et.al, (2013), The Dark Side of Social Media Alarm bells, analysis and the way out. Retrieved on 24th March 2016 from http://blog.vint.sogeti.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/VINT-The-Dark-Side-of-Social-Media-Alarm-Bells-Analysis-and-the-Way-Out.pdf
Rosen, L (2011), Social Networking’s Good and Bad Impacts on Kids. Journal of American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/08/social-kids.aspx